Borderline Personality Disorder Test

Table of Contents
View All
Table of Contents

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a condition that affects a person's ability to regulate emotions, which can lead to relationship problems and impulsivity. BPD is diagnosed based on the criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5). Five of the nine criteria must be met in order for BPD to be diagnosed.

Only a trained and qualified mental health professional can diagnose borderline personality disorder, but there are certain questions you can ask yourself if you think that you or a loved one may have this condition. 

borderline personality disorder

Catherine McQueen / Getty Images

Border Personality Disorder at-Home Test

How to Take the Test

If you answer "yes" to these questions, speak to a mental health professional. This test should not be used as a self-diagnosis tool.

1. Do you have persistent fears of being abandoned?

A person with BPD may show frantic efforts to avoid imagined or real abandonment. They may start relationships quickly and also end them fast because of the fear of being abandoned.

2. Do you have a history of unstable and chaotic relationships?

Someone with BPD often shows a pattern of intense and unstable relationships. They may alternate between:

  • Idealizing: Creating extreme love, closeness, and worship.
  • Devaluing: Leading to extreme anger or hatred.

A commonly used defense mechanism in people with BPD involves splitting, which means they see things as black or white and cannot hold opposing thoughts at the same time. All of this can manifest with behaviors such as ambivalence, avoidance, and preoccupied attachment in romantic relationships.

3. Do you have a pervasive feeling you do not know who you are or what you believe?

An unstable self-image or sense of self is common, which can affect a person's moods and relationships. Identity disturbance in BPD can cause a person to have inconsistent beliefs, behaviors, or values.

Identity diffusion manifests as problems understanding who you are in relation to other people. This can lead to boundary issues in relationships.

4. Are you driven to impulses that you know might hurt you?

Impulsivity or the tendency to do things without thinking first can cause reckless behavior. For BPD, there should be impulsivity in at least two areas that are seen as self-damaging. Some examples of impulsivity are:

  • Irresponsible driving
  • Spending sprees
  • Unprotected sex

Could It Be Bipolar Disorder?

There can be overlap between the symptoms of bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. If you recognize the symptoms described here, speak to a mental health professional to help you tease out a potential diagnosis.

5. Have you acted in a way that is suicidal or have intentionally hurt yourself?

BPD can result in recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures or threats. It can also result in self-mutilating or non-suicidal self-injury behaviors which can involve:

  • Cutting
  • Biting
  • Bruising
  • Burning
  • Head-banging

When to Seek Emergency Help

If you have suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 to talk to a trained counselor. If you or your loved ones are in immediate danger, call 911 for help.

6. Are you highly reactive and have rapid and intense mood swings?

BPD can lead to periods of intense mood swings and instability in emotions. Moods may change quickly, often, and intensely. This is called affective instability and causes a person to swing back and forth between:

  • Dysphoria (dissatisfaction and restlessness)
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety

7. Do you have feelings of emptiness that you cannot shake?

BPD can create a chronic feeling of emptiness inside. This is different from a distorted and unstable self-image. It is also separate from feeling hopelessness and loneliness.

Some describe it as a lack of self-feeling, while others consider it to be the inability to internalize positive thoughts and experiences.

8. Are you prone to rage or are unable to control your temper?

Problems controlling anger and experiencing intense anger can occur. Anger is often fueled by:

  • Oversensitivity
  • Sudden reactivity
  • Rapid changes in emotion (emotional lability)
  • Unhealthy rumination

Decoding Violent Behavoir

Although people with BPD are often portrayed as being violent, they tend to direct negative emotions inward. By contrast, an antisocial personality disorder is characterized by the externalization of emotions and a greater tendency toward physical outbursts.

9. Do you get paranoid or shut down during stress?

Paranoid thinking can occur, especially during stress, and make a person fear others. Severe dissociative symptoms can also happen. Dissociation refers to feeling you disconnected from your body, thoughts, feelings, and surroundings. It can also lead to the blunting of emotions.

What to Do

In a clinical setting, having five of the nine criteria is required for a formal diagnosis. In a self-assessment situation, the results should be approached with caution and not be considered diagnostic. 

If you answer “yes” to a few of the above questions, you should consider speaking with a qualified mental health professional, particularly if any of these experiences are causing persistent distress or impairing your quality of life.

There are treatment options for people with BPD that can lessen symptoms and improve the quality of life. In addition, studies show that the overall rate of remission among people treated for BPD can be high, and symptoms can improve with time.

Was this page helpful?
6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Psychiatric Association. DSM-IV and DSM-5 criteria for the personality disorders.

  2. National Institute of Mental Health. Borderline personality disorder. Updated December 2017.

  3. American Psychiatric Association. DSM-IV and DSM-5 criteria for the personality disorders.

  4. American Psychiatric Association. DSM-IV and DSM-5 criteria for the personality disorders.

  5. Miller CE, Townsend ML, Day NJS, Grenyer BFS. Measuring the shadows: A systematic review of chronic emptiness in borderline personality disorder. PLoS One. 2020;15(7):e0233970. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0233970

  6. Biskin RS. The lifetime course of borderline personality disorder. Can J Psychiatry. 2015;60(7):303-308. doi:10.1177/070674371506000702